Friday, March 20, 2015

Hog slaughter capacity issues loom

The United States will run out of hog-slaughter capacity by the end of the year and become a big issue next year, according to Steve Meyer of Paragon Economics.

He said Porcine Epidemic Diarrhea virus has not claimed as many piglets as a year ago, so the number of market hogs will be higher  than he forecast earlier during the final three months of this year.

The hog-packing industry is working about five and a half days a week and can handle up to 2,438,000 hogs.

But if PED virus death rates remain low, there will be more than that many hogs coming to market after October.

The situation will be worse next year and even adding another Saturday shift may not be enough.

The Clemens Food Group is planning a 550,000-hogs-per-week plant at Coldwater, Michigan, but it is not likely to be running until 2017.

If and when that plant comes on stream, it will ensure no shortage of slaughter capacity for Ontario hogs.